Monday night’s — March 9 — Assembly Committee of the Whole meeting was more like a slow-pitch game at Sandy Beach than a probing investigation into the cruise ship Westerdam’s arrival.
Questions were floated to Holland America’s witnesses like big white softballs. Despite their ease, Holland America’s vice-president Mr. Ralph Samuels, did not even know how many crew would be onboard. But not one Assembly member challenged him as to why he was not prepared with such basic information.
How could CBJ perform an adequate risk assessment, including Westerdam’s potential impact on local medical resources, without knowing the number?
The public submitted hundreds of questions in advance of the meeting, but the Assembly turned them over to the witnesses and allowed them to choose which to answer.
Assembly members’ own questions centered on gray water and skiing opportunities at Eaglecrest. This is not acceptable.
A global pandemic is unfolding and Juneau is particularly vulnerable. Going forward, the Assembly needs to be more incisive and assertive in its inquiries.